For most of his career, Greg Anderson was not really a fan of Route 66 Raceway, site of this weekend’s Route 66 NHRA Nationals. His displeasure had nothing to do with the actual facility, which is considered one of the nicest on the Full Throttle Drag Racing circuit. Instead, it was the fact that it was the only track on tour where the four-time champion had yet to reach the winner’s circle which fueled his concern.
However, that all changed one year ago, when the Summit Racing Camaro driver powered from the No.1 position and broke his Route 66 drought, defeating Erica Enders on a hole shot in the final. Returning to Joliet this weekend for the first time as the defending event champion, he looks forward to staying on good terms with the Illinois quarter-mile.
“For so many years I went to Route 66 Raceway thinking there had to be something in the water that just wouldn’t allow me to win,” said Anderson. “It’s a race track with a very good surface and typically good air, so the cars run fast, which normally plays into the Summit Racing team’s hand. I liked the track and the city and ran well there, but just couldn’t seem to win a race. It was almost as if we had a love/hate relationship.
“Fortunately, that all changed last year, and I was finally able to add it to the list of tracks where I had won, so I’m going back this weekend with a positive attitude, our heads held high as the defending champions. Now that we’ve finally broken through, there’s no reason we can’t keep digging and make it multiple wins.”
Ironically, Anderson’s biggest challenge this weekend will most likely come from matching his race car to the conditions and the track. This will be only the third race for the KB Racing team with their new Camaro, and although admitting they are still coming to terms with the exact boundaries of their new mount’s performance envelope, he believes the progress they have made in recent weeks will allow them to contend for the win in Joliet.
“Although we are still early in the learning process with our Summit Racing Camaro, we did have the chance to get back on the racetrack after the last race in Bristol, spending a day last week testing,” said Anderson. “Every pass we make gives us more information about what this car needs to run, and we feel we have learned quite a few things about it. I believe we are going to have a better product than we did at the last race, which to us means we’re going to have a chance to win the event.
“The forecast is calling for it to be hot this weekend, which will certainly be a challenge, but the conditions will be the same for everyone, so it will be up to us to execute better than our competition. Fortunately, that is something this KB Racing team is fully capable of doing, so we can successfully defend our Route 66 Nationals title.”
Greg Anderson & the Summit Racing Camaro crew
By the Numbers – Route 66 Raceway edition:
1 - Route 66 Raceway wins by Anderson, which happened one year ago.
4 – Final round appearances by Anderson in Joliet.
5 - No. 1 qualifying performances by Anderson at Route 66 Raceway.
5.31 – Average starting position for Greg in his previous 16 Joliet starts.
6.586 – Route 66 Raceway Pro Stock Elapsed Time Record, set by Anderson last year.
9 – Times Anderson has qualified in the top three positions in his previous 16 Route 66 starts.
24 – Elimination round wins by Greg in his previous 16 Joliet starts, versus 15 losses for a .615 win percentage.